Published online May 20, 2015. doi: 10.5493/wjem.v5.i2.140
Peer-review started: August 26, 2014
First decision: October 14, 2014
Revised: December 27, 2014
Accepted: February 4, 2015
Article in press: February 9, 2015
Published online: May 20, 2015
AIM: To study regeneration of damaged human and murine muscle implants and the contribution of added xenogeneic mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
METHODS: Minced human or mouse skeletal muscle tissues were implanted together with human or mouse MSCs subcutaneously on the back of non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient mice. The muscle tissues (both human and murine) were minced with scalpels into small pieces (< 1 mm3) and aliquoted in portions of 200 mm3. These portions were either cryopreserved in 10% dimethylsulfoxide or freshly implanted. Syngeneic or xenogeneic MSCs were added to the minced muscles directly before implantation. Implants were collected at 7, 14, 30 or 45 d after transplantation and processed for (immuno)histological analysis. The progression of muscle regeneration was assessed using a standard histological staining (hematoxylin-phloxin-saffron). Antibodies recognizing Pax7 and von Willebrand factor were used to detect the presence of satellite cells and blood vessels, respectively. To enable detection of the bone marrow-derived MSCs or their derivatives we used MSCs previously transduced with lentiviral vectors expressing a cytoplasmic LacZ gene. X-gal staining of the fixed tissues was used to detect β-galactosidase-positive cells and myofibers.
RESULTS: Myoregeneration in implants of fresh murine muscle was evident as early as day 7, and progressed with time to occupy 50% to 70% of the implants. Regeneration of fresh human muscle was slower. These observations of fresh muscle implants were in contrast to the regeneration of cryopreserved murine muscle that proceeded similarly to that of fresh tissue except for day 45 (P < 0.05). Cryopreserved human muscle showed minimal regeneration, suggesting that the freezing procedure was detrimental to human satellite cells. In fresh and cryopreserved mouse muscle supplemented with LacZ-tagged mouse MSCs, β-galactosidase-positive myofibers were identified early after grafting at the well-vascularized periphery of the implants. The contribution of human MSCs to murine myofiber formation was, however, restricted to the cryopreserved mouse muscle implants. This suggests that fresh murine muscle tissue provides a suboptimal environment for maintenance of human MSCs. A detailed analysis of the histological sections of the various muscle implants revealed the presence of cellular structures with a deviating morphology. Additional stainings with alizarin red and alcian blue showed myofiber calcification in 50 of 66 human muscle implants, and encapsulated cartilage in 10 of 81 of murine muscle implants, respectively.
CONCLUSION: In mouse models the engagement of human MSCs in myoregeneration might be underestimated. Furthermore, our model permits the dissection of species-specific factors in the microenvironment.
Core tip: The translational relevance of animal models for tissue repair is often ambiguous. We describe here a murine model for the comparison of the regeneration of damaged human and murine skeletal muscle implants and the contribution of human and mouse mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to this process. Our findings suggest that murine muscle tissue provides a suboptimal environment for maintenance of human MSC, and that in mouse models their capacity to engage in myoregeneration is underestimated. The added value of the present model is that it permits the dissection of species-specific factors in the microenvironment.